Tell Me Something I Don't Already Know: Informedness and the Impact of Information Programs
52 Pages Posted: 29 Apr 2014 Last revised: 26 Jul 2017
Date Written: June 22, 2017
We document how imperfect information generates heterogeneous effects in information treatments with personalized high-frequency feedback and peer comparisons. In our field experiment in retail electricity, we find that high and low energy users symmetrically underestimate and overestimate their relative energy use pretreatment. Responses to personalized feedback, however, are asymmetric. Households that overestimate their relative use and low users both respond by consuming more. These boomerang effects provide evidence that peer-comparison information programs, even those coupled with normative comparisons, are not guaranteed to lead to increases in prosocial behavior.
Keywords: imperfect information, high frequency feedback, peer comparison, learning, field experiment, retail electricity
JEL Classification: C93, D12, D84, L94, Q41
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